Interview: FashionIndie's Samantha Lim Chats With Us About The Fashion Digital Age

by Barbara Russ · January 11, 2012

In a day and age when fashion blogs are growing rapidly as a major force in the fashion world, the forces behind them, like FashionIndie's editor-in-chief, Samantha Lim, are becoming more of a household name. She took a moment out of her busy schedule to chat with us about the digital age, blogging, and why she's completely obsessed with the fashion industry.

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When and why did you start your blog?

FashionIndie has been one of the top fashion blogs since 2006. I took over as the editor in chief in January of last year with a plan to grow it from a blog to an online fashion lifestyle magazine. We’ve since then redesigned it, freshened up the logo, expanded our coverage from just fashion and pop culture into men’s style, photography, music, and art. It has been an absolutely incredible growth year for the publication, and we’ve still got a long way to go.

Why did you decide for that focus?

When it comes to the fashion industry, I can’t get enough. I’m constantly blown away by the amount of creativity out there, and I want to share everything I see. Old designers, new designers, stylists, photographers, the business of brands, cultural influences, the trickle down effect of trends, the charitable sides -- I find it all absolutely fascinating. Structuring the website like a magazine, with columns, features, and a bigger scope allows us to discuss the most amount of topics in the most organized way. To get a little behind the scenes of where our minds are and how we work, people can check out our tumblr InsideIndie.

So, you don’t really see yourself as a blogger?

The website naturally has a lot of blog like tendencies since it used to be just that, but no, we are a team of digital editors that work with multiple brands and companies around a structured editorial calendar. We might put our honest opinion out there in the same way a blogger does, but there is much more structure and an entire team that makes FashionIndie what it is.

How does FashionIndie handle advertising and sponsored content?

We vet all the brands and products we feature with our honest opinion, good or bad. If there is a brand that wants to advertise in the form of creative content, we still come up with it on our own and provide our actual opinions, they don’t tell us what to write.

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How do you see the New York fashion blogger scene?

The scene is huge. New York probably has one of the highest densities of fashion bloggers in the world, since it is the center of the American fashion industry. I think that around 2009, bloggers really had their breakthrough, they started sitting front row in fashion shows, they were doing designer collaborations, their presence and influence on fashion was really being felt. Since then, the blogs have evolved. There are people who only tweet about fashion, there are tumblrs strictly dedicated to fashion, street style blogs -- you really get to pick and choose what is most influential to you. Bloggers provide readers with a sense of direction and creative inspiration, so it makes sense that there seem to be an endless amount of them.

What are your favorite blogs?

Oh geez, question of the year. I have about a thousand websites in my Google reader I constantly scan. I love The Coveteur and Nowness and how they shed light into the parts of the fashion world that are inaccessible to most people. I love John Jannuzzi’s Textbook, it's devilishly smart and his eye for editing is on another level. I love men’s style blogs, and how men’s outfits are put together like big sartorial puzzles. And I’ve recently become obsessed with Pinterest for inspiration. It’s like an endless, personal supply of visuals, and you can really peek into the minds of other people in a new way.

What is your opinion on visual content vs. writing in a blog?

There is a time and place for each, and both serve different functions. Visuals are a gateway for discovery. They draw you in and manifest content in a millisecond, and do it in a different way than words. Writing is what creates your identity through language, and you can express things in a direct way that visuals may not clearly tell.

What is your opinion on the discussion about print vs. digital?

I don’t think it is necessary to pit the two against one another. The digital era came so fast and we’re at the center of it, we’re all experimenting. Print is adapting and digital strategies change every ten minutes. There are strengths to online publishing that print will never have, and vice versa. A print magazine will never be able to publish and distribute content instantly, and a digital magazine will never be able to replace the tactile experience of holding a photograph or flipping through a book. I love all my gadgets and everything about digital media and the internet, but it is still important to touch a pen to a piece of paper and hone our craft.

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What is FashionIndie’s unique message?

It’s a super simple formula, fashion is in our blood. We want to inspire our audience and make them feel connected, and the way we do that is through humor, honesty, and a slightly un-PC attitude. Fashion affects everyone on this planet, whether they care to admit it or not. Beyond the shopping, beyond the clothes, beyond all the vanity, fashion is a whole lot more. To some people, it is their livelihood. To others, it is about self-confidence, creativity, and identity. And to the rest, it’s the simple function of staying warm or protecting your skin. Fashion is a part of our lifestyle and our hope at FashionIndie is to present it in a relatable way that every type of person can appreciate. Plus it’s really fun to dress up every day.